Cover of report "Turning US Ocean Climate into Action"

Now is the time to evaluate the next steps for true climate solutions and environmental justice.

The theme of the June 2023 Capitol Hill Oceans Week (CHOW) was the Ocean-Climate nexus.  What better timing to release clear guidance on how the Biden-Harris Administration can turn Ocean Climate Policy into ACTION.

The Center for the Blue Economy worked with the Blue Frontier and thousands of others since 2019 on an Ocean Climate Action Plan, and in March of 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration released their own U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan.  Now we continue the work having collaborated with 65 marine groups including the Ocean Defense Initiative to help create a major national report, Turning U.S. Ocean Climate Policy into Action”.   

This report took almost nine months to complete as we interviewed hundreds of leading experts, combed through hundreds of pages of Administration documents and plans, and put together a concise action-oriented policy plan for the last 18 months of Biden’s first term.


Graphic showing action areas for ocean climate policy with ocean image
“All of the actions outlined in the report are things that the Biden-Harris Administration can do without congressional approval.”
— Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy
David Helvarg, Congressman John Garamendi, Natasha Benjamin, and student Mallory Hoffman at the Congressmans office in Washington D.C.
David Helvarg (Blue Frontier), Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA 8th district), Natasha Benjamin (Blue Frontier), and student Mallory Hoffbeck at the Congressman’s office in Washington D.C.

In the days following the launch of the report, Blue Frontier organized meetings in Washington DC for groups to share the report’s findings with the leadership of EPA, NOAA, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Office of Science and Technology (OSTP).

Blue Frontier’s David Helvarg and Natasha Benjamin, as well as Middlebury Institute student Mallory Hoffbeck also met with Congressman John Garamendi to talk about how we can apply the report’s findings in the San Francisco Bay by establishing and protecting Point Molate Park in Richmond California, by decarbonizing the Port of Richmond, and restoring California’s kelp forests.

Mallory, a student in the Environmental Policy and Management program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, spent the spring semester working with Blue Frontier and the Center for the Blue Economy contributing to the research for this report.

Timeline with progression to this report with ocean graphics

Putting this report into the larger context, beginning in 2019,  the Center for the Blue Economy and Blue Frontier assembled a broad-based national coalition to develop an Ocean Climate Action Plan for the next administration, hoping that it would be one friendly to climate smart policy. Over the next 3 years we helped get the policies outlined in our report to the top of the national climate agenda, which resulted in billions of dollars in ocean climate funding in two major federal bills—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. In addition, the Biden-Harris Administration enacted many ocean climate executive actions and in March 2023 released its own U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan that largely mirrors our recommendations.

The current work phase is now focused on the implementation—getting good projects underway that restore coastal ecosystems and provide climate resilience, developing new technologies for decarbonizing the maritime sector, and jump-starting the U.S. offshore wind industry at scale in a way that protects critical marine life. These are all incredibly complex challenges and the Center for the Blue Economy and Blue Frontier have played a pivotal role at every stage. We will continue to play a watchdog, support, and evaluator role as these policies roll out and are put into practice to ensure that they are done responsibly and that they promote environmental justice. 

“Most importantly, it identifies priority actions for the Biden-Harris administration to achieve its ocean climate goals and position the U.S. as a global leader in this rapidly growing area of climate action.”
— Sarah Guy of the nonprofit and coalition member Ocean Defense Initiative.

We are so proud to be continuing our work of Ocean Climate Action advocacy, and we thank all our collaborators who have helped in the effort.

Group of people standing in front of white house, huge metal bars of the fence surrounding behind
The Blue Frontier and Ocean Climate Action Coalition, with Center for the Blue Economy represented by student Mallory Hoffbeck.  Capitol Hill Ocean Week, June 6-8, 2023

For More Information

Read the Report: Turning U.S. Ocean Climate into Action

Learn MoreOcean Climate Action Movement

Media Contact: Sierra Abukins, Director of Communications, Middlebury Inst. of Intl. Studies, or (831) 647-6606